Psychophysical Acting: An Intercultural Approach after Stanislavski

12 October 2012 | Mentions

psychophysical acting cover

"Psychophysical Acting is a direct and vital address to the demands of contemporary theatre on today’s actor. Drawing on over thirty years of intercultural experience, Phillip Zarrilli aims to equip actors with practical and conceptual tools with which to approach their work. Areas of focus include:

  • an historical overview of a psychophysical approach to acting from Stanislavski to the present
  • acting as an ‘energetics’ of performance, applied to a wide range of playwrights: Samuel Beckett, Martin Crimp, Sarah Kane, Kaite O’Reilly and Ota Shogo
  • a system of training though yoga and Asian martial arts that heightens sensory awareness, dynamic energy, and in which body and mind become one
  • practical application of training principles to improvisation exercises."

"For those few who have trained in a traditional art like kathakali, just like the Western ballet dancer who wishes to move from ballet into acting/performance, a shift is necessary in order to apply what has been learned from the traditional training to a new form of artistic practice. While I was training and directing actors for the Theatre Training and Research Programme (TTRP) in Singapore in 2007 (see Chapter 11: Attempts on Her Life), one member of the ensemble, Sajeev Purushothama Kurup, had undergone six years of traditional full-time professional training in kathakali in Kerala. After several years performing, he chose to (re)train at TTRP in order to gain the additional tools necessary to become a contemporary actor/ performer. His journey has necessarily involved an attempt to learn how to bring what he had absorbed from his traditional training to the unique problems of contemporary acting." (p. 82)

"In the remainder of this chapter, I focus on how I applied the psychophysical training and its principles to The Water Station in two contexts: an intensive training workshop hosted by Gardzienice Theatre Association in Poland March 2-7, 2004, and a full production of The Water Station directed in September 2004 for the Theatre Training and Research Programme (TTRP) at the Esplanade Theatre Studio, Singapore. The Singapore production included a cast of eighteen: eight professionals and ten third-year TTRP acting students. Of the eight professionals five were recent TTRP graduates, one a member of staff, and two were actors (Klaus Seewald and Jeungsook Yoo) who had trained extensively with me, assisted me in teaching and/or demonstrations of the training, and applied the training to previous productions I had directed. Among the eighteen in the cast, sixteen were from Asia (Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, China, Philippines, Japan, and India) and two from Europe (Austria and Poland)." (p. 150)

Psychophysical Acting: An Intercultural Approach after Stanislavski
Author: Phillip B. Zarrilli
Publisher: Routledge, 2012
ISBN 1134313357, 9781134313358